10 Rules Piggy Lives by Financially

10 rules that I live by in financial aspect (I didn’t know I could come up with 10, yay!):

  1. Spend less than what you make.
  2. Use credit cards wisely – pay off credit card bills each month, make use of 0% APR offer for financing, use reward cards that accumulate points or have % cash back.
  3. Pay off “bad” debt – this includes any high interest rate debt that is not tax deductible, which is credit card debt for most people (there are pay-day loans which should be avoided at all cost anyways because of outrageous interest).
  4. Contribute to and fully utilize 401k – Most employers provide 401k these days, so contribute some or at least the % of employer matching (free money!) but also educate yourself of the available funds and pick wisely (hence the “fully utilize” part).
  5. Contribute regularly to saving.
  6. Develop your own investment portfolio – whether it be individual stocks or funds, but educate yourself first and invest in a style that suits you. I said “your own” because you should never just follow what others do because our needs, situations, and personalities are all different, so understanding yourself is essential here.
  7. Have a spending budget – this allows you to afford hobbies, gadgets, travelling, etc.
  8. Distinguish “want” vs. “need” – this is the most important to keep myself from spending too much because of how I LOOOOOOOOVE gadgets :)
  9. Invest in ourselves – classes, books, or things that contribute to our general well-being.
  10. Remember the ultimate goal – a reminder to be frugal and financial-smart but yet not becoming cheap :) In other words, balance is everything.

Originally posted 2007-04-12 21:40:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How to Be Awesomely Unsuccessful

Yep, you heard me right. I am feeling pretty devilish these days. So today, I tell you — Do the following if you want to be adroitly unsuccessful, disgracefully evil, or famously infamous.

Pay no Attention to Anything
This world sucks, and everyone’s going to die anyways. Even the earth may explode, or the sun will die eventually. Why should you give a damn?

Think Only of Yourself and Your Own Desires
Galileo was wrong. You are the center of the universe.

You Know Everything
Albert Einstein’s got nu’ting on you.

Listen Naught
“What? What’d you say? And don’t answer cuz I don’t really give a crap and I only hear what I want to hear anyways.”

Insult Whoever Crosses Your Path
Use your best rhetoric to defame and criticize. Lift yourself up by stepping on others. Easiest way to get to the top. Oh, who needs friends?

Blame, Blame, Blame
It’s never your fault, whatever happened. It’s always someone else, something else that caused the problem cuz they are all stupid compared to you.

Be Intractable
Change is for losers, like the dude who writes at Piggy’s Blog. You are just fine the way you are. No matter how unhealthy, how irresponsible, how angry, how hateful you maybe. You are just being your unsuccessful self. Be like that until you die.

Be Dishonest
Lie your way through any situation. Make promsies that you will never fulfill. Never do what you say. Yay.

Nothing is Possible
Quit at the first sign of failure. Give others no chance to call you out. Actually, don’t bother trying because at the end of the day, it requires too much time, effort, money, and discipline.

Nothing motivates like hate does.

Best way to solve a problem – complain until someone fixes it. Even if no one does, ‘es still da best kind of therapy.

Ignore any Problems
If there’s a problem, sweep it under the rug and it’s gone!.

Use not Your Brain but Violence
Trust your gut. If you feel like giving somone a black eye, go right ahead. If you think your kid needs a good thrashing cuz they are too annoying, grab the metal folded-chair and whack away. Show no signs of mercy or kindness, it will only hinder your journey to unsuccessfulness. Nothing solves problems like violence.

Kick ’em When They’re Down
What can be more joyful than making other miserable and being the audience. Prepare some pop-corns. Get the honey-glazed ones, and save some for me. Yum!

Never Exercise
Doctors and technology can always fix me up. If nothing, there’s still cosmetic surgery. Eh, worst case, I will just die. We all do anyways.

Well, that was fun, and I wish you best of luck. Work at it hard enough, and you may just achieve the rank of satan-hood!

Feel free to add to the list through comments.

Originally posted 2008-08-12 00:39:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

There is Always a Choice

There is always a choice.

That is why I am no fan of the “blame game” that people play. Flip through any sort of media channels and you can find the trend of blaming in almost every story, in any scope, be it a small town event or national crisis. Better yet, look around yourself and see how many people always think they are victims of problems created by others. Why is that?

It is simply easier to be victims and claim that you do not have a choice. That means you do not have to be responsible. Let’s face it, most people avoid responsibility by victimizing themselves and pretending they had no part of the problem creation. People fear to admit the problems they have caused and shit they have created.

Let’s look at it on the individual level with a few examples.

Do you have to go to work?
Do you have to exercise? Or go to the gym?
Do you have to make your spouse happy?

You may think that you HAVE TO work to pay all the bills, but do you really HAVE TO? For all I know, you work for the money to afford the luxury of a shelter, food, the use of city’s facilities, and the million things that you try to accumulate. You do not HAVE TO work. You may think it a tragedy when you lose all your things but you will not be dead. You CHOOSE to work because you want all these things and stuff.

The concept of have-to-exercise or have-to-go-to-gym are detrimental and is the reason why many people never get healthy or stay consistent with a training schedule. You do not HAVE TO do those, albeit your body will function sub-optimally. It is not a chore. It maybe difficult to have yourself go at times, but personally I make the choice to exercise and go to the gym every time I do so. I want to be healthy and maintain my body. I want to be better physically, at the same time improving myself mentally. Body and mind are inter-related. Therefore, I choose to go. I also choose not to go when I feel I cannot strain myself any further due to schedule.

What about relationship? Do you HAVE TO stay in a relationship that maybe harmful to the both of you? Or do you stay in a relationship because you HAVE TO be in a relationship, supposedly? You may think you HAVE TO because you may hurt the other person badly, but you probably are already doing so. Give the other person some credit and let them be responsible for themselves while you make an aware decision, whether to leave or to take action for resolution. And if you are married, does that mean you HAVE TO take care of your family? They may not be as well off if you don’t. They may hate you. But I say you do not HAVE TO. I would choose to be with someone because I want to, not because I have to have a girlfriend. I will choose to care and protect my family not because I have to, but because I want to and it is my choice.

In the extreme case, for people who are in the position of authority to do so, they think, “I have to do [fill in illegal activities] in order to make my family happy.” Now, do you really? Maybe your family desire not all the money and power you may gain from doing the illegal stuffs in order to be happy. Maybe your parents will be happier if you stay safe and just take care of yourself. Maybe they will be happier if you are around more. Maybe it is all okay, if you choose to care more about them and stop hurting others to get what you want. Maybe if you choose not to be such a greedy bastard.

All the “have to” we tell ourselves are choices we have given up. I am not telling you to live in an illusion and put a positive spin where you control everything. Because you do not control everything. You control nothing but yourself. But I believe what you choose for yourself in every moment can directly or indirectly influence many events to come in your life. In every moment, there is always a choice. Therefore, first not give up your choice. Second, do best to make good choices.

Begone with the “have to”. Now make your choice. And give it time because it will take time to regain responsibility on things you have given up on and to resolve the mess created in the process of you not being responsible.

There is always a choice.

Originally posted 2008-07-13 01:41:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A Generation Gone Awry

In the latest issue of BusinessWeek, there is an article about students taking the extra effort to be competitive by participating in financial/investing clubs AFTER getting into prestigious school, Meet Your New Recruits, They Want to Eat Your Lunch. Here is an excerpt:

Once, merely graduating from an Ivy League college or similarly prestigious rival like Stanford or Swarthmore qualified students for a choice entry-level perch on Wall Stree. No longer. “The whole idea of smart people just falling into banking is becoming rarer,” says Lance LaVergne, a vice-president and global head of diversity recruiting at Goldman Sachs. “Clubs are essential to preparation, especially for students who are not majoring in traditional discipline like finance or accounting.”

Also in the article, a girl is described to gain admission to three prestigious clubs at Stanford, and it is AMAZING.

I understand the world is getting tougher out there. Therefore, it is great to be driven. It is great to prepare for the future. It is great to kick-start learning about investing because that’s what I am doing now. But despite all that, I can’t help but contemplate if these students are getting too mixed up in the money-means-success culture at a very young age. I can’t help but worry that these students would grow up with the only ability to handle money, finance, and investing and narrow vision due to being a money-purist. Is that what life is all about?

I am not saying one should not focus on academic work because I did that and graduated with a 3.8+ GPA majoring in Computer Science and Japanse, and here I am working in the computer industry. One must need pragmatism to survive in this society.

However, from when I was an undergraduate, a huge part of what makes me the person today is being a part of the fencing team for 4 years, where focus, discipline, hard-work, comradeship, travelling, and fun happened, and then other things like social dancing, Japanese cultural events, a few music classes, misc. physical exercise, or just having some plain(dumb) fun with my friends. Perhaps that is why I am not rich, in today’s commen sense at least, but I am perfectly content with how I am and what I have, which are not just things and money.

On top of that, these investment clubs may have an unintended consequence of promoting short-term trading because the students are driven for immediate results to show recruiters and they have an investment time horizon of at most 4 years.

I only wish the students can still take their sweet time, in spite of those clubs, and participate in other cultural, character cultivating, or simply fun events. Because I would hate to see a bunch of physically-dwarfed, money-mongering, rich, yet utterly unhappy people to be grown out of this generation.

Your thoughts?

Originally posted 2008-05-18 11:01:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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